Book Review

I Have the Answer

I Have the Answer

Michigan Writers’ Series

Kelly Fordon

WSU Press, Apr 2020

211 pages

General Fiction, Short Story Collection

Provided by Edelweiss/Pub


The cover is a lovely abstract of color and a suggestion of people down at the bottom, which is appropriate for this book of stories about people from various walks of life.

Ms. Fordon has written over a dozen short stories about people and the human condition. She has written stories about phobias, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, moving on after the loss of a relationship, bipolar disease, addiction, raising children, and other human conditions.

I didn’t cheat, I read them all, twice. I will admit that some of them I couldn’t understand what the underlying theme was. The super student who suddenly got a C+ on a final exam along with a ghostly arm that no one else could see? The former friend who seems to have gotten away with killing her husband by putting him in the backyard shed every night when he got drunk until one night he froze to death? The father and mother who froze in an emergency and had to be bailed out by their son? No, not too sure what these really meant and how they fit into the scheme of things. Though, Superman at Hogback Ridge is one of my preferred stories in the book. That’s the one with the mother and father freezing in an emergency. I’m not fond of The Devil’s Proof because I have a daughter and I hated the movie The Exorcist, too. It scared the daylights out of me back when the original came out. And Jungle Life is upsetting to me because my mother is 93 and has been diagnosed with dementia recently. It’s not easy to live with and it slowly steals the person you love from you. I did enjoy The Shorebirds and The Shaman. I remember reading that the first time and liking it. This second reading was just as enjoyable.

The writing was outstanding, which saves this from being a bust. That I didn’t understand it all, is on me. It may be a generational thing. I’m part of the Boomer Generation. Perhaps it’s more a Millennial thing? I don’t know. But I can’t take off a star because I’m not the right reader. As I said the writing is wonderful. And there are several stories I really like. However, should a book have to come with a generational warning? CAUTION: GENERATION X ONLY So, I think 4-stars is a fair rating for a book I enjoyed most of and understood the significance of only about 50% of it. You can enjoy it without understanding it all, you know. So I recommend this to those of you who are younger or smarter than I am, who like to find the significance in your reading, the “Aha moment”.

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